The First 30 Days reveals the nine principles of change that will revolutionize how you face transition times. With real-life stories, practical exercises, and inspiring action points, this book teaches the skills you need to face or make any change in your life, including how to:
- Use your Change Muscle
- Combat fear, doubt, and all your change demons
- Get in touch with your spiritual side
- Create a plan that will get you results
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About the Author
Ariane de Bonvoisin is the founder of first30days.com, a website that helps people transition through dozens of changes, whether the change involves a health diagnosis, going green, moving to a new city, or getting married. She has a degree in economics and international relations from the London School of Economics and an MBA from Stanford University. Ariane worked at the Boston Consulting Group and with media giants BMG, Sony, and Time Warner before pursuing her dream to make a difference in people's lives. First30days.com became her life's work in 2005. Ariane is based in New York City where her company is also headquartered.
Read an Excerpt
The First 30 Days Your Guide to Any Change (and Loving Your Life More)
By Ariane de Bonvoisin
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. Copyright © 2008 Ariane de Bonvoisin
All right reserved.
Change Your View of Change Beliefs Can Make All the Difference
Principle 1: People who successfully navigate change have positive beliefs
Your biggest need right now is to develop new beliefs: about yourself, about this change and about life in general. Nothing will have a bigger impact on the way you move through change.
What you believe about change—and about yourself—will be the major filter for how you get through your current transition, whether you're in day one, day thirty, or years past the start of the change. A belief is something you think is true. It can be very strongly ingrained, like a conviction; or weaker, like something you happen to think is correct. This means that if you believe that change is difficult and terrible, you will likely have a difficult and terrible time. The beliefs you have about who you are also directly affect how you feel during change. Are you strong and capable, or unsure and fearful?
There are some striking differences between people who are good at change and those who struggle. People who embrace change—the people I like to call change optimists—think: Change is good. Change is about growing, and something exciting may be waiting for me on the other side of this transition. They believethat change brings something new into their lives and that change always serves somehow. When change is thrust upon them or when they need to initiate a change on their own, these optimistic people try to make the best of the situation by looking for the positive.
The people I have met who fear change usually believe that change is hard, that it brings up all of their anxieties and insecurities, and that it takes forever. They also think that they are unlucky if tough change comes into their lives, and that they will be paralyzed, stressed, and unable to move past it.
Can you see the difference in these two ways of viewing the world?
Which one sounds familiar to you?
The quickest way to take control during change is first to become aware of what your mind is feeding you and then to make a concerted effort to choose better thoughts and beliefs. Start to notice what you most often think and say to yourself—and to others. For example, if you break up with someone, you may believe you will be single forever because you are not attractive or worthy of a committed partner. If you get sick, you may believe that the illness is permanent and that you will never feel better. If you try to lose weight, you may believe you will fail yet again. And if you lose your home in a hurricane, you may believe you will never be happy or comfortable again. These are all beliefs you have created in your own mind.
The good news is that we can identify and bust the myths and fears we have about change. We have a choice about what things mean to us. We create our distortions and our truths. They are part of the software that runs the computer inside our head. We all have the same hard drive, but each of us has unique programs that control our life. Once we have identified the most dominant programs (beliefs) running on our computer, we have the ability to drag the negative ones into the trash and replace them with programs that will serve us better. We can see this in the person who was fired and quickly moved on to a better job versus the person who wallowed for years in unemployed misery. Or the cancer survivor who used the illness to find a renewed love of life versus the survivor who is still full of fear and uncertainty. The difference between these people is the beliefs that they hold.
The Tribe: The Source of Your Current Beliefs
In a perfect world, our parents would teach us that change is the only guarantee in life and that it is therefore essential to be good at accepting change and moving through it. Wouldn't it have been great if your mom had asked you each evening, "What changed today, what is new, and what's good about that?" Acknowledging changes in this way would have helped us develop a view of change that would support us later in life, when we are faced time and time again with new situations and experiences.
Take a moment to think about why you have made the life choices that you have—whom to marry, what kind of work to pursue, where to live—and you'll see that we are often a walking imprint of the beliefs of our family and friends—what I like to call the tribe. Sometimes this loyalty to the tribe is conscious; but most often it is unconscious. This loyalty helps us feel connected to the people in our lives on a deeper level. Your tribe has probably helped shape the way you live, but it can also take away your ability to see and choose the best way to move through change. Every member of your tribe has his or her own model of the world and is all too eager to share it with you. Going against your tribe can be uncomfortable and threatening. If your family believes deeply in the institution of marriage, it takes courage to tell them that you choose to believe that divorce can be a good thing. Or maybe you dream of owning your own business, but your tribe always encouraged you to maintain a steady job. Who is in your tribe? Ask yourself who still has power and influence over your choices and the changes you want to make.
As a friend of mine, Kathy, once told me, "During change I've found that a lot of people have a tendency to hold on to other people's patterns. People need to look at themselves and ask, 'Who am I as an individual?' not 'Who am I as the daughter of my mother or father, the wife of my husband, or the mother to my kids?' "
Excerpted from The First 30 Days by Ariane de Bonvoisin Copyright © 2008 by Ariane de Bonvoisin. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1 Change Your View of Change: Beliefs Can Make All the Difference 7
2 The Change Guarantee: From This Situation, Something Good Will Come 27
3 The Change Muscle: You're Stronger Than You Think 47
4 Change Demons: How to Recognize Negative Emotions and Move Past Them 69
5 The Gift of Acceptance: Resisting Change Is Not the Answer 107
6 The Things You Can Control: What You Say, Think, and Feel 123
7 Meet Your Spiritual Side: Where Tranquility, Ideas, and Wisdom Live 147
8 Your Change Support Team:The People and Things That Can Help 167
9 Get Unstuck: Actions to Move You Through Any Change 185
The Next 30 Days and Beyond: Radical Optimism, Possibility, and New Directions 205
Our Journey Continues 215
Recommended Reading 219
Discussion Questions 221
What People are Saying About This
“Since change is the only constant in life, it helps to have an expert navigate through the ups and downs of life. The First 30 Days is an excellent guide.”
“This beautiful book is like having a compassionate friend guiding you through the beginning stages of any major change in your life. I loved it.”
“What could you do to start loving your life more? This book helps you answer that question and provides the tools you need to make it happen.”
“Ariane has a wonderful, warm, inspiring approach to life, to changes we all go through and to what’s important. This book is filled with ways to make change simpler, easier and less stressful. I highly recommend it.”
“This book is full of practical information that will both inspire and inform. … a must read.”
“The First 30 Days can help people change their lives.”
“Ariane can inspire and inform all of us going through change, whether it be big or small, professional or personal.”
“The First 30 Days is ideal for anyone going through a change, wanting to make a change or helping someone through a change. There are gems of wisdom in here that will make a difference in how we all get through change and transitions in life.”
Graduating in a No-Job Environment?: 10 Tips for New Graduates from Ariane de Bonvoisin
1) You don't need to figure out your entire career!
Begin by starting with something you want to do. Most 40/50yr olds I know still haven't figured out what they want to do with their lives. Chunk it down. Is there a part time job you want to do for the next month or two? What would you be happy doing for the next year? That's all. Then see what happens. Get out from the pressure of figuring out your life's work. You cannot possibly know yet. So stop trying.
2) Go for what you love.
No one ever asks us what we love. The question instead is always, what do you do? Or in the case of students graduating now, do you have a job? Today, you are the "Do Something You Love Generation." You are dying to do something you love, but you don't think that's okay and you've never been taught to go after something you love. No one around you did, you're your parents didn't, no one has given you permission! This generation is much more motivated that the previous one to follow their passions. But then parents get in the way. Or fears. Or the news. Or your friends who have gone on to do something that's okay. Safe.
Do the inner work to get honest with yourself, listen to your gut, and ask -- what do you really want to spend your time doing? When they're fewer jobs, it teaches you to get incredibly focused. Dream jobs can include designing video games, joining the Peace Corps, creating jewelry. Become immune to what your others want you to do or what anyone else thinks is right for you. Apply for jobs that speak to your heart and your passion instead of applying for everything and anything that is out there. The sooner you do something you really want to do, the more likely you are to be hired as the year progresses. You are unique, with hobbies, skills and desires that are unlike others in the job market. The more you connect with your own talents and skills, the better this will come across. If you try to put in your job application character traits that will fit the profile you think an employer is asking for, its like entering a competition without real talent or skills. You will be eliminated before you ever get started or soon thereafter.
3) The original will inherit the jobs.
Do things no one else is doing. Don't just apply for the same jobs, go to the same job fairs or search the same sites online. (do it, but don't have that be your only source of ideas). Think about the companies, products, services you love. Even if they are no obvious jobs being offered, get resourceful. Find out the right person to mail, whether it's the CEO directly, a VP, or the head of HR. You can even reach out to a celebrity you want to work for. Tell them you love the company, what they stand for, their goals. Tell them why. Do your homework. Work hard. Make it personal. Get your personality on paper. Make it funny. Make it something they've never read before. Make it easy for them to meet you.
4) Don't be seduced by the "dark side" of the force.
Trends, general opinions, and the news are not on your side. Read other types of news, sites and magazines. Look for good news, for inspiration, for stories of hope, ideas. Refrain from agreeing with everyone on how bad it is out there. You get to choose what you listen to and what you let into your brain. Even better, take a "news fast." Optimists choose to look at what's possible, the progress they're making, how something good will happen. Act as if no one had told you how bad it was out there. Sometimes its better not to know what you don't know.
5) Treat everyone as if they have a piece of the puzzle to your next job.
Sometimes we think the folks who are in HR or big jobs are the only ones to network with. This isn't always the case. Many people have found jobs from people in the most unusual ways. Tell everyone you know and meet what you are looking for. Get really specific -- don't just say, I'm looking for a job. No one can handle that level of request. If you say, "I'm looking for a job in TV or fashion or whatever, do you know anyone in that industry," then you will be amazed at how much help you do receive. It does require you being very clear on what you want. Talk to anyone. Don't judge who someone is or who they know based on what they're currently doing. You never know who their friends are, who their customers are, or what they used to do. Build your business network as passionately as you have your friend network on Facebook. Welcome to LinkedIn and other sites.
6) Keep learning, growing, reading.
Just because you are out of school, doesn't mean you get to stop learning. Pick up a few different types of books or audio programs. Learn about self empowerment, communication skills, pursuing a dream, being an entrepreneur, health, spirituality, whatever you feel called towards. Take an evening class or a weekend workshop on letting go of negativity, or the power of visualization, confidence building tactics or public speaking. You will be amazed at what you didn't learn in school. Life skills. "Right brain skills." Skills that will make you cope better. Skills that will make you more valuable in a job. You are not wasting your time. Any course you take or project you get involved in will say something important about you as a person to your next employer.
7) Get comfortable with change.
The most important life skill you can learn right now that can help you land your dream job is to be cool with change and uncertainty. The quality of your life is directly proportionate to the amount of uncertainty you can be comfortable with. Don't cling to answers, being in control, knowing what's next or how its going to turn out. Get flexible. Let things unfold. Be okay if you thought you were going to get a job and then didn't. Something good will come from any change. You have a "change muscle." You are much stronger, more resilient, more intuitive than you've ever been told. The best of who you are comes out during times of transition! Now, with that clearly in your head, lets look at things you can actually do….
8) Clean up your act and your health!
Clean yourself up, literally! Get a makeover, get rid of any old clothes, cut your hair, cover up those tattoos, shower every day, change those earrings and treat yourself to a new pair of shoes perhaps…you get the picture. No need to go on. Next, whether you're kicking off your job search, in the midst of it, or perhaps you just landed your first big break and got your foot in the door….take care of your health! Working takes energy and endurance. A job search too. The more you take care of yourself, sleep, eat well, stay hydrated, exercise, the more energy you will have to dedicate to this post graduation phase. Believe me, when you show up to meet someone for a job, you are being judged and evaluated on everything…. including how you look, your energy, if you are overweight, or drinking gallons of Coke. Employers prefer to hire and also keep people who are healthy. When everything on the outside seems out of control, this area is under your control. Feeling discouraged, go to the gym, go for a run. You will always feel better about yourself. Get those emotions of fear, doubt, impatience, shame, whatever, moving out of your body.
9) Don't eat the marshmallow.
In a study at Stanford University conducted over 25 yrs ago, a class full of five-year-olds were given a marshmallow and told not to eat it for five minutes, and only then would they be given a second marshmallow. The teacher then left and observed the class. Ninety percent of the kids ate the marshmallow. (The rest licked it or ate the inside!) The kids were then followed for the next 25 years. Those who were able to delay the instant gratification and wait, were off the charts more successful in every area of their life. What's the lesson? Good things come to those who wait. Many students graduate and feel such pressure to be the next Steve Jobs, the next Anderson Cooper or superstar designer. Its fine if it takes you a little while to find the job you want. We all overestimate how quickly things are going to happen in a month or so and often give up or settle. And we all underestimate how different our lives can be in six to nine months. Give yourself a longer runway.
If you only do one only one thing to help yourself during this period of uncertainty it's to shift your beliefs! The job market is only as bad as you choose to believe. There will always be jobs. There will always be opportunities to help, to try to build your own company….Be part of the solution, not the problem. Think abundance, not scarcity! And until you do find that perfect of your dreams, find an hour or two to contribute or volunteer. Your character is what's most important. Giving back has you meeting people, feeling useful, realizing someone needs you and your skills. Offer to help people. "Is there anything small I can help you with?" The world has a funny way of helping those who help others. Ask how you can be serve and you just might find the world looking to serve you too!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I'm stuck in a dead end job and my girlfriend told me she's bored and wants to see other people. My dad has been sick and I don't think he's going to make it. Finally, the pump on my fish tank failed and I awoke the other morning to find my 22 African Cichlids floating, dead in my living room. My gosh my life sucks. I went to my local B&N for some retail therapy and found this book. It jumped off the shelf. I don't usually go for self help books, but this was different. It was easy to read, with lots of tips and relatable quotes. I couldn't put it down and read 20 pages standing in the bookstore! A first. What I want to say to anyone reading this review is... if you're stuck and or bad things are happening to you, this book can help. It made me feel not alone and gave me one or two things to think about. More than my friends and family could do. Also, I don't care what anyone says... I realized most of the bad things that are happening are because I haven't wanted to take chances. My job -- I HATE it and want to leave, so who's to blame? My girlfriend -- been bored for a year, so what does that say? My dad -- okay... that just stinks, but at least I have a better perspective on dealing with him. My fish -- I was getting tired of caring for them -- of course I didn't want them to die, but I couldn't figure out a way to get rid of them. I was afraid of change and look what happened to me! This book is a way out of the fear. I recommend it. This is my first book review. I hope it helps one person. Get this book.
In a sea of bookstores with a tidal wave of abundantly overflowing self-help sections, Ariane de Bonvoisin has written the ONE book that has become, for me, the illuminating beacon that pierces through life's ever-increasing murkiness and fog. The First 30 Days allowed me to begin the kind of transformative change I so desperately needed in my life. Thank you, Ariane, for radiating so brightly through this amazing, heartfelt, practical and poignant book. I will truly treasure and assuredly share this book with all of my friends and family. Shine on.
Your bible to survive, enjoy and delight in change is here! Everything you need to know about how you can change your life for the better is detailed in this book. Ariane is an amazing, timely gift for the planet.
This book is so right now and full of great insights, tips and inspiring words to help anyone through lifes changes. Not only is it full of real life stories I could relate to, but also great wisdom from the author Ariane...I would recommend it to anyone.
I have recommended this book to every person I know going through a change. I even buy a copy for every new staff member that joins my team as a welcome gift. Ariane has a beautiful message that has moved me greatly. Here positive messages are good life lessons even if you're not in the middle of a change.
Positive reinforcement for everyone.
This book is extremely relatable and enjoyable! I think everyone can take something special and important from it!